The Bourne Legacy (2012) – USA

This review also distributed across Deloitte Australia network.

@ Universal Australia Preview Screening
Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA
Review Date: 15 August 2012

The latest addition to the “Bourne” series is riddled with plot-holes, uninteresting story-line, genre clichés and miscasting of Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz before a rather formulaic if somewhat redeeming action-packed finale.

“The Bourne Legacy” is not an outright bad film, but it lacks any imagination, intelligence and thrills of its predecessors. Writer/Director Tony Gilroy (previously wrote the screenplay for the other “Bourne” films) fails to deliver a film that should have just been much of the same. Instead, all we get is a rehash of all the genre clichés that we have seen in just about any other action movies. In fact, there are times when the film feels nothing like a “Bourne” movie and probably nothing in common, apart from the constant reference to certain Jason Bourne and its title name.

The film itself starts off rather slowly and manages to pick up some pace by the half way point. The first chase scene when Renner and Weisz tries to escape the country is most probably the best part of the film. However, the same cannot be said of the action-packed finale. Not only did the audience have to wait near till the end, before the film goes into full-on action mode, at times, “Legacy” simply forgotten that the film is essentially an action/thriller blockbuster. The result is Gilroy happily delivering a significant lack of action along with an uninteresting plot-line for a good half of the duration.

The real root of the problem lies with the casting of Jeremy Renner, not only does he lacks the charisma and screen presence of Matt Damon, the manner in which he plays the character feels rather generic, wooden and disconnected. Renner is a capable actor and has shown his potential in films like “The Hurt Locker”, but to carry an action blockbuster, the audience need someone more recognisable and perhaps a tad more humane. At times, Renner feels more like a stoic James Bond, than a witty Aaron Cross. Adding to the mix is a terrible miscast of Rachel Weisz, who is seriously acting 10-15 years younger than her age. Weisz is wonderful actress who rarely puts in an unconvincing performance, but here, the same cannot be said. At times, her nativity and overacting becomes overbearing. As a result, the duo of Renner and Weisz shared little chemistry and their impending romance feels rather forced and generic. Interestingly, Edward Norton impresses in a somewhat villainous turn as the ruthless guy who runs the show. Norton is able to chew the scenery with ease and is probably the most interesting character in the film.

All in all, “The Bourne Legacy” feels more like a B-movie disguised within an A-list Hollywood production. It is all the more disappointing when you have a talented director in Tony Gilroy (who previously directed the acclaimed “Michael Clayton”) at the helm, along with two accomplished actor/actress in Renner and Weisz and yet the film fall short of the standard that made the “Bourne” franchise so successful. Perhaps, if “Legacy” is just another action movie, it will earn higher marks. At the end of the day, “The Bourne Legacy” is not a total disappointment, but comparison with the rest of the series will be undeniable. However, if one can ignore the genre clichés, non-existent storyline and poor casting, then some dumb fun can still be had. An underwhelming entry for a highly successful series… (Neo 2012)

Neo rates it 5.5/10

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